Lake Havasu City is an oasis within the desert and a great place to vacation. The city enjoys over 300 days of sunshine per year and sits on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu (part of the Colorado River), between the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts.
This master planned city was originally an Army Air Corps rest camp in WWII and was founded in 1963, making it a fairly new city. It’s home to the iconic London Bridge, numerous beaches and parks, expansive desert, winding palm-tree lined roads, and watersports galore.
Let’s explore some of the best things to do in Lake Havasu City:
Lake Havasu Balloon Fest
January is a memorable time of year in Lake Havasu City thanks to the Lake Havasu Balloon Fest where area visitors are able to see hundreds of colorful hot air balloons rise up into the clear blue skies from almost anywhere in the city. This magical event was founded in 2011 and is held every third weekend in January. The balloons launch from Lake Havasu State Park, and people can participate in or watch competitions, events, air shows, and balloon rides, as well as enjoy arts and crafts, food, and carnival rides.
Cattail Cove State Park
Just south of the city sits Cattail Cove State Park, which is quieter and less crowded than Lake Havasu State Park. Also sitting on the shores of Lake Havasu, Cattail Cove touts beautiful scenery, coves, beaches, desert areas, campsites, and watersports. People love the coming to the park to swim, sunbathe, fish, hike, and sightsee.
Not too far from Cattail Cove, you’ll find SARA Park, which offers multiple extensive trails, picnic areas, playing fields, a roller hockey rink, an RC plane and helicopter field, and lovely landscapes. There is water access, but the hiking, biking, and motocross is what draws the most people to SARA. The slot canyon located in SARA’s Crack offers unforgettable views of the lake and mountains.
Lake Havasu State Park
Lake Havasu State park provides an idyllic spot to relax or gear up for fun out on the lake. It’s located just minutes from London Bridge and downtown with sandy beaches, campsites, nature trails, hidden swimming spots, boat ramps, equipment rentals, gorgeous scenery, and wildlife.
Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge
The Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge is about a half hour’s drive from Lake Havasu City and boasts many types of landscapes and scenery, making it popular with lovers of the outdoors. It sits at the spot where rushing waters meet Lake Havasu in a transition zone between the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. Visitors love hiking, fishing, kayaking, wildlife present in the wetlands, woodlands, vegetation, shoreline, and mountains of this amazing refuge.
Lake Havasu Museum of History
If you want to learn more about the region, the Lake Havasu Museum of History is a great place to visit! Packed with artifacts and exhibits, it does a fantastic job of educating visitors about the city’s history, culture, people, nature, and wildlife through archeological findings, historic photos, models, and art. The lives of early settlers in the area come alive, and their rich culture is on full display.
Lake Havasu City is actually home to more lighthouse replicas than any other place in the USA, which seems unbelievable considering the desert setting. The lighthouses were the creative solution to improve the poor nighttime navigation on the lake that existed before 2000. Scattered around the shores of Lake Havasu, 28 lighthouses stand proud, ready to be viewed by solo excursionists or guided tours. You’ll find West Coast replicas on the west side of the lake, East Coast replicas on the east side, and Great Lakes replicas on the islands.
London Bridge Beach
Located just south of London Bridge and bordering the Bridgewater Channel is London Bridge Beach, providing visitors grassy spaces, picnic areas, playgrounds, sandy beaches, swimming area, and park benches. It’s a popular attraction for both tourists and locals, also touting basketball and volleyball courts, BBQs, shady areas, and water equipment rentals. Its ideal location just minutes from great dining options makes it the home to many gatherings and community events year-round.
Havasu Landing Casino
The huge Havasu Landing Casino which is located on the Chemehuevi Reservation in California, reachable by ferry from Lake Havasu City. The gaming floor now has more than 300 slot machines as well as standard table games including blackjack, poker and roulette. The lounge and restaurant serve up delicious food and cocktails, and visitors can enjoy fantastic views of the lake.
Lake Havasu City’s main claim to fame is the London Bridge. Initially erected over the River Thames in London in 1831, it was shipped over to the city brick by brick in 1971 after its purchase by developer Robert P. McCullough, who wanted a way to drive more traffic to the area. Today, it serves as the world’s largest antique, and home to many dining, sightseeing, and recreational opportunities.
Rotary Community Park
Rotary Community Park is a short walk from city center and boasts many amenities and activities. It sits along the shores the Bridgewater Channel and Thompson Bay, offering lush green spaces, shady areas, and water access. As the area’s largest public beach, you’ll also find many picnic tables, walkways, a skate park, BBQs, exercise equipment, and trees to find respite from the sun. Enjoy the opportunities to walk, run, bike, play volleyball or bocce ball, sightsee, or relax on the sand.
Boating on Lake Havasu
No visit to Lake Havasu City is complete without exploring the waters! Thanks to its calm surface, gorgeous surroundings, and year-round great weather, it is knows as one of the best boating lakes in the US. Situated between both the Mojave and Sonoran Desert, the lake is actually massive reservoir that formed in 1934 when the Colorado River was dammed. Today, the large lake and its adjoining waterways attract a wide range of people, from families and spring breakers to fisherman, and watersport enthusiasts. Lake Havasu’s beaches, parks, and other attractions are best discovered by boat.
Vacations in Lake Havasu City
Need a place to stay while on vacation in Lake Havasu City AZ? Avalon Havasu is a luxury Lake Havasu City vacation rental boasting a resort-like backyard, heated pool, spa, firepit, kids playground, multiple living and dining areas, and many other great features. With six bedrooms and four bathrooms, Avalon Havasu can accommodate up to 20 guests, making it the idyllic basecamp for your family or group getaway. And it’s pet-friendly so your furry friend can come too!